Thou demandest what is love? It is that powerful attraction towards all that we conceive, or fear, or hope beyond ourselves, when we find within our own thoughts the chasm of an insufficient void, and seek to awaken in all things that are, a community with what we experience within ourselves.
Hence the vanity of translation; it were as wise to cast a violet into a crucible that you might discover the formal principle of its colour and odour, as seek to transfuse from one language into another the creations of a poet. The plant must spring again from its seed, or it will bear no flower—and this is.
O Spirit! fearlessly bear on. Though storms may break the primrose on its stalk, Though frosts may blight the freshness of its bloom, Yet spring's awakening breath will woo the earth To feed with kindliest dews its favorite flower, That blooms in mossy bank and darksome glens, Lighting the greenwood with its sunny smile.
Love withers under constraints. Its very essence is liberty; it is comparable neither with obedience, jealousy, nor fear; it is there most pure, perfect, and unlimited where its votaries are in confidence, equality and unreserve.
Forget the dead, the past? O yet there are ghosts that may take revenge for it, memories that make the heart a tomb, regrets which gild thro' the spirit's gloom, and with ghastly whispers tell that joy, once lost, is pain.
At the very time that philosophers of the most enterprising benevolence were founding in Greece those institutions which have rendered it the wonder and luminary of the world, am I required to believe that the weak and wicked king of an obscure and barbarous nation, a murderer, a traitor and a tyrant, was the man after God's own heart?